New Garmin Zumo 396

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by StuartV, Apr 11, 2018.

  1. $19.95

    $19.95 farkling

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    I just received a 396 yesterday, and I thought I'd mention something that I found annoying, but not quite a dealbreaker.

    It's charge dock is 5V

    For most people, this is not a problem. Use the included wiring kit, and everything will be ok. Install, go, all is good.

    But the device will be hard wired to the bike.

    For every Garmin device I've had in the past, the charge dock has been 12V, so I took the wiring harness, stripped it to length, put a powerlet connector on it, and plugged it into a socket on the fairing or dash. Easy! This allowed me to take the mount off the bike if I wanted.

    The new wiring harness has a voltage transformer box at the end of 2ft of cable. It's bulky, and doesn't lend itself to attaching to a powerlet connector, unless I want a whole lot of extra cable on in my dash area. I though of stripping the wire and putting a usb connector on the end and use a powerlet to usb adapter... but soldering a usb connector is a whole lot more hassle compared to a powerlet connector.

    Anyway, now I will have to hardwire the power lead, and permanently keep the dock on the bike. There are worse things in the world.

    Besides that, it is a big upgrade from the old Montana 650T I was using. Fast, bigger screen, and some pretty useful new features. Overall, I think it's a great little device for the money.
    #41
  2. Ocho NA

    Ocho NA Been here awhile

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    I bought one of those SW Motech brackets that go over the dash and I'm slightly bummed out that the charging dock doesn't seem to be compatible to install directly since the cable won't fit in between the bracket and the dock (since the dock needs to be horizontal and the cable comes in from behind).

    It looks like the solution is to buy another AMPS Ram mount to install directly on the bracket and then use the included RAM arm and AMPS to mount the GPS. This leaves a gap for the power cable. Not very ideal, since it adds some extra bulkyness to the whole thing.
    #42
  3. scridercoach

    scridercoach Old crusty bast**d

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    I have to agree with you. While not having GPS for a bike before this, I did think that the "permanent" mount is a bit restricting. I had hoped it would have come with a 12v car cord and I would have just utilized it for my outlet. I suppose I could buy one and dismantle the hardwire connection and just use the mount. Like you said not a deal breaker, but when I'm riding the bike with no need for the GPS, it would be nice to not have the obtrusive mount and power plate just hanging out.
    #43
  4. Ocho NA

    Ocho NA Been here awhile

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    The issue being that 12V might/will fry the device?

    Now I think about it I also have a 12V plug on the dash. A solution like this would be ideal.
    #44
  5. acap650

    acap650 acap650

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    Yes, 12V will probably fry it. A friend did so by connecting his 5V usb cable directly to 12V and his gps went poof.

    I've had a few years with a usb powered Nuvi 550 and can say usb connectors are less than ideal for moto use. Vibration and cable flexing would cause momentary power interruptions with that annoying message "gps has lost power, stay on or turn off", usually just as the next turn came up.
    #45
  6. $19.95

    $19.95 farkling

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    Just to be clear, the zumo 396 is not usb powered when mounted on a bike.

    I would consider ‘usb powered’ to mean a device connected through one of the many usb connectors (A,mini,micro, or C). The 396 cannot be connected via usb when in the cradle. It has a proprietary two pin connector that provides only power (someone posted a pic earlier in the thread), and it will not disengage unless the unit comes out of the cradle.

    I’m guessing Garmin saves money by not including a 12v-5v converter in the unit. Fair enough, considering the ‘big brother’ unit costs 80% more.
    #46
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  7. poonbean

    poonbean gottago

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    Well - I've had the 550, and after replacing two screens, moved to the 390, which overall worked really well. Seeing the specs and features for the 396, especially the routing options, I bought one.
    While the features are there, compared with the 390 - the 396 screen is not as sharp and was faded - see photo - Top is 390, bottom is 396 -same location is shown in both.
    Yup - it looks like a brightness and contrast setting - but those are not adjustable.

    I called and emailed Garmin support, and they first directed me to reset the unit following some special dance moves, and then update the firmware - I did both, and there was no change. I sent them the photo comparison, and they responded:

    "I did have a few more people take a look at the picture and was told it seems that is most likely how it is supposed to look including the person who did the training for this unit and he said it appears that is how the screen should be. I can still set up an exchange if you would like to try a new device first or a full refund if you wish to return."

    To say the least - not the response I was expecting - I recommended that they share the photo with the design engineer because this could be a manufacturing flaw - I can't imagine why a faded out image on a motorcycle in the daylight was designed on purpose. Anyways, I returned it and the refund is in process.

    It would be helpful to see a screen shot from others who have the 396, maybe I should buy another one, or step up to the 595.

    Regarding the discussion of USB power and the desire to remove the SWMotech motech mount - I completely agree. My solution was to wire a USB plug to the wire holding the special Garmin two pin plug and then simply plug the USB into a 5V usb inserted into the 12v socket on the dash - simple. Garmin likely does not allow a usb connection on the rear of the unit when in the MC cradle because that connection is not water tight. Don't use my approach in the rain.

    garmin.jpg
    #47
  8. Ocho NA

    Ocho NA Been here awhile

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    I had the GPS mounted and this was the result:

    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately the bracket I bought wouldn't fit in directly to the Garmin mount so I have to rely on this RAM mount contraptions to make it work, making it a little pushed forward, which is not ideal. Anyway the GPS seems fine, I needed something like this for a while.

    Edit: Just found out there's an adapter for the Zumo devices that fixes this.
    #48
  9. uturnKTM

    uturnKTM Adventurer

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    What is the motorcyle mount and power cable that is listed as "in the box"?
    #49
  10. scridercoach

    scridercoach Old crusty bast**d

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    It's a RAM mount with a dedicated cable for the battery terminals.
    #50
  11. scridercoach

    scridercoach Old crusty bast**d

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    Sorry for the late reply on this.....(not getting notifications on posts for some reason). Your 396 does look washed out. I'm at work now but will get a hold of mine tomorrow and take a picture for you for comparison. In my mind, I don't think mine looks as faded as that. It may be just a one-off discrepancy. The other thing it could be is the map display setting. Your previous model's map colorings are similar to one of the map displays you can choose on the 396. I'll play around with it and take some pictures.
    #51
  12. uturnKTM

    uturnKTM Adventurer

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    Sorry, I was lazy. Does the cable include the box the takes the voltage down from 12v to 5v?

    Ah, found it on a re-read
    "The new wiring harness has a voltage transformer box at the end of 2ft of cable. "
    #52
  13. scridercoach

    scridercoach Old crusty bast**d

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    Here's my 396 with the "Garmin" screen setting. As I mentioned, there are other map display settings. Don't know if you played with those before sending it back, but they do alter the colors displayed. However, I would say based on your picture of the 390 screen, there is a difference. Your 390 pic does seem sharper. I've been out on the road for a week with the 396 in all kinds of different light and weather and felt the display was fine, but have no other GPS experience for reference.
    . IMG_0260.jpg
    #53
  14. SirSkizzo

    SirSkizzo Adventurer

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    Curious - does the 396 fit in the BMW factory gps cradle? Ie the cradle that fits the 660. Can’t quite tell. Size seems the same but connection does not seem the same.
    #54
  15. JC100

    JC100 Long timer

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    I think that’s the bracket that I have that currently has a Montana in it. I just ordered the 396 and would like to put it in that bracket. What’s the adapter you mention?
    #55
  16. JC100

    JC100 Long timer

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    Also, would there be any harm splicing the power supply to this Zumo device into the same switched 12v power that the Montana is currently connected to? I’m unlikely to run both together but both are 5v draws aren’t they...unlikley to overload anything?
    #56
  17. Ocho NA

    Ocho NA Been here awhile

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    #57
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  18. JC100

    JC100 Long timer

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    #58
  19. Ocho NA

    Ocho NA Been here awhile

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    Yep. Just make sure there’s no confusion on what this is. It’s an adapter for the SW Motech GPS holder (like the one shown in the instruction manual) and works with the included 396 mount (the spacers give it a little extra space for the cable to come from behind the mount).
    #59
  20. JC100

    JC100 Long timer

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    Yep. Understood. This is great thanks as my 396 just shipped and I didn’t want to spend a day loudly swearing in front of my neighbours.

    Any comment on my idea to splice in the 396 power cord along with my Montana? I don’t think there should be an issue.
    #60